We feel pretty strongly that a business plan can help you to define your business goals and give you a road-map for the future of your company. But, what makes a company that has used a business plan different from others? How has a business plan made the difference for that business?
Here’s a pretty cool stat: of the 15 business owners who attended the very first The Simple Plan workshop in Seattle 2009, 14 are still operating (and THRIVING at leaps and bounds!)
We recently talked with Kelsey Eads, owner of Sugarcomb. Kelsey was in her start-up phase when she joined us. I’m in awe of the strides she’s made in 4.5 years. We don’t see a lot of business owners in the wedding industry make it passed the 2 year mark, let alone accomplish what Kelsey has in the last several years since The Simple Plan.
Kelsey shares what business planning has helped her achieve…
Why did you decide a business plan was important/necessary?
I wanted to develop a strong business and hop out of hobby territory as quickly as possible. A business plan was the perfect way for me to focus my outlook from one structured point-of-view and direction. It makes such a positive difference when your business has a firm baseline to help you make decisions and growth from.
What were some of the biggest ‘A-HA’ realizations you had while working on the business plan?
For me, the biggest eye opener was learning to map out and forecast finances the right way. It’s an honest face-to-face with money, the short-fallings and potential, and I think it’s the point that really taught me how hard I’m going to need to work to make Sugarcomb the success I was aiming for. It’s a reality check that every business owner should experience.
How have you used the business plan to move your business forward?
Every year when I revisit Sugarcomb’s business plan I realize how much everything has evolved. It’s a great checkpoint to look back on and to help you refresh and feel growth as you make updates and dreams for the next year.
What are some of the biggest improvements you’ve made in your business?
I’m very independent, but over time as my business grew, I came to realize how ideal it would be to have someone to collaborate with and to have the flexibility to take on more projects. I wasn’t actively searching, but in the past year I met Tara, Sugarcomb’s new Planning and Design Lead, and working together was the perfect fit for where we were both at in our careers. It’s been a great learning experience for me to hand off responsibility and to balance what the business needs from the two of us now. For a Type-A like me, it was a scary step to take, but the growth, benefits and new potential have made me so happy with this new direction and the way that Sugarcomb can grow from its new normal.
Have you had measurable improvements?
It has taken time, but every year has brought increased revenue. In the beginning there was a lot of testing and guesswork that went into advertising avenues, pricing my services, and deciding what expenses were necessary to uphold the integrity of Sugarcomb, and which were not. It’s a balancing act, but the best way to figure out what is right for you and your unique business is experience and, when available, great advice. I’m constantly learning how to streamline finances; being diligent about keeping records and notes on what is working and what is not is a great thing to have by your side when you revisit your business plan every year.